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Sportier Kia Soul on the Way, Next-Gen Model May Offer AWD

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/12/2014 Alex Nishimoto

In the niche boxy compact hatchback segment, the Kia Soul has been a runaway hit. But Kia thinks it can broaden the funky hatch's appeal even further, and is looking into offering a sportier model as well as one with all-wheel drive.

Kia told us the current-generation Soul will get the turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 from the Forte. That engine makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque in the Forte, and would be a nice upgrade from the Soul's top engine, a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter that makes 164 hp and 151 lb-ft. Kia said it expected to introduce the sportier model this year, but didn't have the suspension and steering tuning or bigger brakes ready in time. With that said, you can expect a Kia Soul with a bit more punch sometime next year. 2014 Kia Soul© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Kia Soul

Dealers have been hounding Kia for an all-wheel drive Soul, and the Korean automaker says it's considering offering the option on the next-gen model. Kia sees it as a good way to compete with oddball vehicles like the Nissan Juke, as well as compact crossovers like the Jeep Renegade and Chevrolet Trax. But as of right now, the all-wheel-drive Soul hasn't received a definite go-ahead. 2014 Kia Soul© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Kia Soul

We also hear that Kia is being extra-careful with the next Soul's design, as it believes third-generation models are the hardest to pull off. The reason is that customers aren't as easily impressed the third time around, and are expecting something new. The automaker is in the early stages of planning the third-gen Soul and is looking to step outside its comfort zone a bit. Making the Soul into a family of vehicles is a possibility, with body styles like a coupe and even a pickup being considered.

Christian Seabaugh contributed to this post.

2014 Kia Soul© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Kia Soul
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